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State Street Corridor plan stalls over INDOT road plans

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The city may scale back its vision for the revitalization of State Street in East Columbus in order to partner with the Indiana Department of Transportation, which is preparing to resurface the highway.

City planners, residents and business owners who spent more than a year coming up with a plan to improve the corridor had an extensive wishlist of improvements.

United Consulting took that wishlist and expanded it, recommending more than $8 million in improvements that included pocket parks and an urban trail to accommodate bike and pedestrian travel.

Redevelopment officials learned last month that implementing the full extent of the engineering firm's recommendation would require an agreement with INDOT to narrow the street to make room for more trails and to turn over the state agency's federal funding for the city to spend on part of the improvements.

City Engineer Beth Fizel and two engineers with United Consulting, which the city likely would tap to complete the improvements, told city councilmen Tuesday night that INDOT is willing to add sidewalks to its resurfacing project, but repeatedly has told the city it doesn't want to narrow traffic lanes or let the city take over its project.

"They've never given the funding to a (Local Public Agency) to do the work for them, and they shy away from starting a precedent with that," Fizel said.

Now, Fizel and United Consulting are asking the city to decide within the next two weeks whether it wants to partner with INDOT and implement a $1.7 million proposal from the engineering firm.

For more on this story, see Thursday's Republic.

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